Create value calculators to engage your customers

by | Jul 15, 2021

Value calculators help customers and prospects understand their ROI on products and services. More and more businesses are using them to collaborate with customers, create more successful business cases, and accelerate the sales cycle. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the different types of value calculators and we’ll help you understand the problems they solve. Watch the full webinar to see how you can design and build these calculators without the need for a development team.  


value calculator for every occasion


Examples of value calculators include ROI calculators, pricing, and configuration calculators. They do different things but they share the same four key value propositions: 

  • Articulate value
    They help prospects understand the value you bring. 
  • Deepen understanding
    They provide an in-depth understanding of your product or service. The deeper an understanding, the more likely a prospect will connect to your offering. In turn, this leads to quicker and higher value sales.
  • Foster collaboration
    Going through a calculator with your prospect is a structured way of collaborating which deepens the relationship and level of engagement. 
  • Engage prospects
    The interactive nature of value calculators combined with the above benefits will engage your prospects and your sales team. The whole process becomes more streamlined leading to improved sales promotion and higher value sales. 

Let’s now look at what’s possible and how easy it is to do yourself. The following examples haven’t been built by a team of developers, they’re do-it-yourself calculators, designed with clicks not code, and using your spreadsheet skills.  

And because they have been built in Squirrel365 they can be easily shared with colleagues, clients, or business partners.


Example one: FutureMetrics CO2 Footprint Calculator 


CO2 value calculator

FutureMetrics is a consulting organisation that helps customers understand their carbon footprint. This CO2 Footprint Calculator sits amongst a selection of interactive models on the homepage; the models are not so much about ROI, but about articulating the expertise that FutreMetrics has in this market.  

The CO2 Footprint calculator lets someone understand their CO2 savings when they move from coal to wood pellets. 

Easy to use interface 

The customer doesn’t have to understand the complexity of the model, they just need to understand that what they put in affects the outputs. In other words, the CO2 savings they’ll make from a move to pellets. 

FutureMetrics built the calculator from an existing spreadsheet and encapsulated their knowledge of the industry by putting a front end on it with Squirrel365.  


Example two: InfoBurst Cost Justification Calculator 


InfoBurst cost justification calculator


InfoSol Inc delivers effective and compelling business intelligence and custom applications. Its product InfoBurst allows people to drive greater value from their existing business intelligence deployment.  

The InfoBurst Cost Justification Calculator lets potential customers estimate their ROI when implementing InfoBurst into their organisation. The ‘How’ button (bottom right) provides a detailed breakdown, and the ‘PDF’ button prints a simplified view of the outputs. It’s useful for giving an ROI overview to a steering committee. 

Users can also choose which InfoBurst product they want details for, either InfoBurst Tab or IB Publish 

Like the FutureMetrics calculator, it’s a type of future value calculator that allows the end-user to forecast costs easily. There’s no need to dig around for numbers in a spreadsheet, instant information is obtained from simply moving a slider or clicking a button.  


Example three: Smartsheet Productivity Benefit Calculator


Smartsheet productivity benefit calculator 

Smartsheet is an online workspace that lets teams manage projects, automate workflows, and build new solutions. It’s a no-code platform based on a spreadsheet/database hybrid.  

Squirrel’s CSO Donald MacCormick built the calculator based on Forrester’s impact study which looks at the benefits of Smartsheet in terms of individual productivity. 

The Smartsheet Productivity Benefit Calculator shows how much you will save over a three-year period. Enter the number of collaborators and watch the figures change as you plan for more growth or if you lower the risk factor. 

There is a settings dialogue box that lets you save your scenario back to an underlying Smartsheet data source. If you go into your data source and refresh the Smartsheet in the background, you’ll see the scenario you’ve just put into the Squirrel calculator.

Smartsheet settings dialogue box

Saving new scenario in Smartsheet

Customers and prospects can save different scenarios in real-time which gives you an opportunity to understand what people are looking for. 


Example four: AWS Lambda ‘Ballpark’ Cost Calculator 


AWS Lambda cost calculator

For more complex sales, configuration calculators are useful. They help answer questions such as “how much hardware and software are needed?” and “How many consulting days?” Packaging these configurations into a calculator which is easy to use can reduce friction in the sales cycle. 

Donald MacCormick built a configuration calculator to help Squirrel decide whether to move cloud computing capabilities to AWS Lambda 

Donald took the numbers out of AWS’s online documentation and put them into a calculator that we could better understand. We could now choose different data centres to see how the monthly cost changed. Also, by interacting with the sliders and adjusting the inputs, we could see what the monthly cost would be to Squirrel.  

Playing with the scenarios gave us answers that would be hard to find within AWS’s online documentation. Another helpful feature was the explanatory text which appeared when we clicked on the question mark. It meant we didn’t need to have documentation to hand.  


Example five: TechData Trade-in Calculator 


TechData trade-in calculator

Squirrel365 customer Manning and McKenna built this calculator for a client TechData. It’s an example of how pricing calculators can be used as self-help tools so sales teams can better understand the options available to their clients. 

TechData has a trade-in program for old and new technology that stores and displays possible replacement options for different types of trade-ins. This calculator helps TechData’s salespeople get to grips with the huge number of trade-in possibilities for their customers.  

The sales team simply selects a product option, e.g., Disk or Tape, then chooses the type of product being traded and what it’s being replaced with. The calculator stores and returns the best deal from hundreds of thousands of possible scenarios. It’s an amazing piece of technology that instantly helps TechData generate more trades and revenue.  


Why you should consider a value calculator 


Self-service adds value 

Users can get a deeper understanding with ‘click to view more’ or ‘how’ buttons. Self-service allows people to understand the value quickly which in turn, strengthens the relationship between customer and salesperson. 


Marketing from inside the tool gives new insights 

If you want to engage customers, give them a tool so they can gain new insights for themselves. People will be encouraged to have a play and find out more about a product. It deepens the collaborative approach to the selling process. 


Calculators built with clicks not code 

There is one key thing that all these value calculators have in common — they’ve all been built with clicks not code using Squirrel365 and spreadsheet knowledge, something that almost all of us have. 

With Squirrel365 you can build these types of sales calculators in hours and days, rather than weeks or months and you can share them on the web, via a link, or in a PowerPoint presentation.  

The beauty of Squirrel is you can pick it up and get going straight away. No extensive training is required which gives you an alternative option to finding a coding expert or paying another company to do it for you. 


See how easy it is 

Watch Donald MacCormick build a simple calculator for the crafting industry, the calculator lets customers work out how much they should charge for a crafted product. The methods Donald uses can be applied to any calculator built with Squirrel, no matter how simple or complex. Donald’s easy-to-follow instructions can be found at 19.30 minutes into his webinar Create ROI calculators to engage your customers, build stronger business cases, and drive more sales. 

You can also check out our blog How to make a calculator app in Squirrel365.

Why not try Squirrel365 for yourself with our free 30-day trial.